BIMTECH organises the third global summit on CSR and Transparency

The Global Summit on Corporate Social responsibility and Transparency was held at the Stein Auditorium in the India Habitat Centre on the 8th and 9th July, 2011. The summit was conducted by Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) in collaboration with GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) and The Economic Times. The summit invoked burning issues relating to the sustainability, accountabili

New Delhi: The Global Summit on Corporate Social responsibility and Transparency was held at the Stein Auditorium in the India Habitat Centre on the 8th and 9th July, 2011. The summit was conducted by Birla Institute of Management Technology (BIMTECH) in collaboration with GRI (Global Reporting Initiative) and The Economic Times. The summit invoked burning issues relating to the sustainability, accountability and disclosure. The main highlight was the valedictory address by Mr. Yashwant Sinha, Honourable Member of Parliament and Former Union Finance Minister according to whom, "The age of innocence is long gone and we are living in an age of guilt!"

After the welcome address on the first day by Dr. H Chaturvedi, Director, BIMTECH, the inaugural session was made jubiliant by a key note from Prof Roel Nieuwenkamp, Director, International Trade and Globalisation, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Netherlands who said, 'I consider CSR as a true treasure hunt in India.' Sharing his thoughts further, he shared that trade and CSR policy are two sides of the same coin and plays different roles - defensive CSR and offensive CSR.

The two day summit came to an end with thought provoking notions from Mr. Yashwant Sinha, Hon'ble Member of Parliament and Former Union Finance Minister. He deliberated upon the importance of CSR in the today's world. He said that it is required because the entire world is witnessing a fundamental change and therefore such initiatives are required for the complete growth of the world. He also stated moral values, ethics and transparency to be the pillars of existence of the corporates.

The Global summit ended on a high positive note that developments in the public policy and private sector would lead to a better tomorrow.

Highlights: Day 1:
In his special address, Dr. Rajendra Sisodia, Professor, Chairman & Co-founder, Conscious Capitalism Institute, Bentley University, Massachusetts, USA talked about business realities at the age of conscious capitalism. He focussed on the need of CSR in present age for various reasons such as fast changing world, better education, better information, more connections, and more consciousness. He highlighted on few tenets of capitalism such as higher purpose and stake holder orientation.

Mr. Shyam Saran, IFS, Ex Secretary, GOI (External Affairs) and Advisor to the Hon'ble Prime Minister of India threw light on the importance of transparency in CSR and accountability.

The first technical session on CSR and Transparency was "The Connect". The panelists for the session comprised of Dr. Ranjendra Sisodia, Mr. Manfred Haebig, Director, Private Sector Development, GIZ and Mr. Prashant Hota, AVP-CSR, R&R and Corporate Communications, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd. The session was chaired Ms. Marjolein Baghuis, Director, Communications & Network Relations, Global Reporting Initiatives, Netherlands. Some of the issues discussed during the session focused upon defining CSR and transparency, highlighting importance of stakeholder engagement, financial markets, competitiveness and risk management. According to Mr Haebig, 'Total transparency is not possible humanly. When trust disappears we cry out for transparency, so seeking too much of transparency could also mean that we are heading towards a situation of distrust.'

The second technical session was on CSR and Transparency, "The Practices" was chaired by Mr. P.S. Bawa, Chairman of Transparency International, India, Mr. R.N. Makheeja from Larsen & Toubro Ltd., Mr. V.M Kaul from Power Grid Corporation of India, Mr. Nevielle K. Gandhi from Seimens, Ms Ananda UVL from Bayer Cropscience Ltd talked about the practices adopted by them highlighting transparency.

The other session chaired by Pati N. Poblete, Director, World Outreach and Media, Global Footprint Network, talked about stakeholder's perspective wherein the panellists were Mr Joe Phelan, Country Director, India, International Business Leaders Forum, Mr Rijit Sengupta, Associate Director, Consumer Unity & Trust Society, CUTS International, Mr Ulrich Meinecke, Counsellor, Social & Labor Affairs, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Mr Ashwini Saxena, Operation Officer, International Finance Corporation and Dr Sunil Sinha, Head and Senior Economist, CRISIL.

Highlights: Day 2:

The second day session on Accountability and Disclosure enclosed the valuable thoughts of Mr. Viraf Mehta, Regional Advisor, Institute of Human Rights and Business. Other panellists included Mr. Manoj Arora, Director (A & F), Indian Institue of Corporate Affairs, Ministry of Corporate Affairs, GOI, Mr. K. S Jamestin, Director HR, ONGC, Dr. Y. K. Saxena, Chief EHS & Sustainability, Jubiliant Life Sciences, Mr. Sudhir Sinha, Country Head, CSR and R&R, Arcelormittal India Ltd. And Mr. Soumitro Ghosh, Founder, CEO, CSO Partners.

On Accountability and Disclosure, Mr. Viraf Mehta, Regional Advisor, Institute of Human Rights and Business quoted "Accountability is not a simple word but is much more than a mere responsibility". The discussions focussed on the issue of giving in accountability from the perspective of the corporates. He also laid emphasis on the Right to information act as a tool to accountability and disclosure.

The fellow panellist Dr. Aditi Haldar, Director, GRI Focal Point, India highlighted certain important aspects of the sustainability reporting which need to be stressed by the companies while reporting. Underlining the importance of Accountability and reporting she said "what gets measured, gets managed and what gets communicated, gets understood."

The guest of honour Dr. Simon Longstaff, Director, Global Reporting Initiative and Executive Director, St. James Centre, Australia also spoke about how trust is an important factor. The special guest for this session was Dr. Uddesh Kohli, Senior Advisor, UN Global Compact and Executive Member, Global Compact Network India.

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